I take time near the beginning of a new year on The Meeting House on Faith Radio to review prevalent topics impacting the Christian community from the previous year. Recently, I shared information from 2022, including comments from a variety of guests from the show.
No doubt, the year’s top story impacting the Christian community is the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs case, involving a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Five justices on the high court voted to strike down the almost 5-decade-old Roe v. Wade ruling, which had resulted in legalized abortion in America.
The decision in the case returned the question of abortion to each state. Pro-life laws that had been passed and put on hold by courts and “trigger laws” that would ban many abortions in the eventuality of Roe being overturned went into effect. The decision has provided an opportunity for those who believe in the sanctity of life, based on Scripture, to build on years of compassionate service and continue to reach out to women and their families in crisis pregnancies.
Not all have been supportive of the court’s decision, and concern has been voiced through the political process. Unfortunately, there are those who resorted to violence against pregnancy resources centers and churches, intensified by a supposed draft leak of the majority opinion weeks before the high court actually issued its decision.
Other court actions were notable during 2022, including three U.S. Supreme Court decisions that upheld religious freedom. I covered the rulings in a previous column – here are some highlights:
In one case, Shurtleff v. Boston, the right of a Christian group to have a Christian flag flown in a special celebration at City Hall in Boston was upheld.
Another case, Carson v. Makin, restored the rights of parents to send their children to religious schools in a special program in the state of Maine allowing parents to choose other high schools in rural areas where it was impractical to place a high school.
Then, there was the case of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, in which the Court ruled that a football coach who had walked to midfield to pray following games and had been terminated was within his Constitutional rights to participate in that free exercise of religion.
This term of the U.S. Supreme Court features the 303 Creative case, in which a graphic artist and web designer is challenging a Colorado law that would force her to support same-sex marriage, contrary to her religious beliefs.
In 2022, there was an apparent advancement in the promotion of transgenderism, which is a rejection of God’s created order and His plan for sexuality. There was welcome pushback on several fronts, with Christian organizations involved in the opposition to this dangerous agenda.
The state of Alabama, in its 2022 regular session of the Legislature, passed a bill that would prevent minors from receiving treatments and undergoing surgeries intended to help them to “change” his or her gender. The bill also included a section that would prevent inappropriate sexual material from being taught to young children in the state’s classrooms. The new law was challenged and a portion of it has been temporarily restricted from going into effect.
From the exposure of the gender change surgeries being performed at a Nashville hospital to “detransitioners” speaking out about their experiences, the gender change industry certainly had a day of reckoning during 2022. “Detransitioners” are individuals who have been duped in order to try to surgically change their sex, only to find out that they had sustained permanent damage based on an empty promise.
Other concerns in the area of sexuality were centered around biological boys identifying as female competing against girls in sporting events. There has been quite a bit of legislative activity on the state level across the U.S. to curb this trend; nevertheless a federal appeals court – the 2nd Circuit – toward year’s end upheld the policy of a governing body over youth sports in the state of Connecticut, allowing male athletes to compete against females.
The area of same-sex marriage returned to the headlines as a new bill was passed that provided a legislative companion to the 2015 Obergefell decision, but Christian leaders voiced concern that under the law, those who stand on the Biblical concept of one-man, one-woman marriage could face repercussions for their viewpoints.
These are just some of the many issues impacting Christians during 2022. We can continue to be in prayer for our leaders and pray for the Church to have a solid witness in a culture in which we find ideas being embraced that contradict Scripture. For more information, I encourage you to visit FaithRadio.org and check out the “Top 10 Topics of 2022” Podcast in the Media Center.